By Ted Waddell
ELDRED September 30, 2003 In a game that was marred by a seemingly never-ending series of personal fouls and delayed by a torrential downpour, the Millbrook Tigers defeated the Yellowjackets of Eldred on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 26-15.
On the subject of personal fouls, the officials called a total of eleven of those 15-yard penalties. Millbrook (2-2, 1-0 Class D) was flagged for eight personal foul penalties and host Eldred three.
Early in the first quarter of the OCIAA Division V game, Eldreds Vinny Reilly intercepted a Jon Shanks pass that had touchdown written all over it.
After the Yellowjackets took possession on their own 14, they got out of touchy field position after picking up 15 yards on a personal foul called against the Tigers.
At 5:04, Millbrooks QB connected with Dan Quick on a 12-yard pass to the right hand corner of the end zone. A successful PAT kick put the Tigers in the lead, 7-0.
With about three minutes left in the quarter, the Millbrook defense sacked Eldred freshman QB Nick McCormick, creating a punting situation deep in Yellowjacket land.
On the ensuing possession, the Tigers looked like they were going to go for it on fourth down with a few yards to go. But they got flagged five yards for delay of game and elected to punt.
Eldred (1-3, 1-1 Class D) fumbled the ball in the backfield five seconds into the second quarter, and the Tigers pounced on it at the home team 35-yard line.
Shanks hooked up Mike Kearins on a floater pass, and after the receiver broke several tackles, he took it across the goal line to complete the 35-yard scoring play.
The PAT kick was good, putting Millbrook up 14-0 with 11:05 remaining until halftime.
With about 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Eldred pulled the proverbial bacon out of the proverbial frying pan by recovering their own backfield fumble.
After that recovery, McCormick failed to connect with Reilly on a little chopper pass on a 4th and 12 play, Millbrook took over possession of the ball.
Shanks tried a Hail Mary pass to Eli Rogers, but the intended receiver apparently heard the pounding feet of approaching linemen, and dropped the ball setting up a fourth down.
The Tigers then pulled off a switcheroo fake punt, but their runner got pushed out of bounds at midfield and Eldred took over at the 46-yard line.
Daniel Shepley fumbled it away, and the Tigers regained possession.
In the wake of back-to-back turnovers, Eldreds A.J. Martucci recovered a Millbrook fumble for Eldred at the 8:28 mark.
After a series of no-gain ground attacks, McCormick passed to Kyle Jasper, but it was ruled incomplete, setting up a fourth down scenario.
On the next play, McCormick connected with Jasper for a first down on the Millbrook 32. On third down, McCormick got sacked and on fourth down he was buried under a den full of Tigers. However, the officials ruled it a late hit, and socked Millbrook with a personal foul.
The Tigers offense took over after Jamie Kennedy pulled down McCormick to end the Yellowjackets subsequent set of downs.
In the closing minutes of the half, Shanks tried consecutive passes to Rogers. Both were incomplete, and the second was broken up by a trio of Eldred defenders Reilly, Patrick Kean and Jonathan Counts.
Eldred took possession on fourth down at its own 38-yard line.
McCormick found Jasper, but the passing play drew the attention of the refs who detected illegal motion in the home team backfield.
The Homecoming weekend football game featured a halftime appearance by Homecoming King Vinny Reilly and Homecoming Queen Brenda Ferry.
The Kings Court consisted of Andrew Babula, Matt Counts and Chris Ryman. Princesses of the Queens Court were Jen Leibman, Deanne Rajsz and Roberta Wolff.
On the opening play of the second half, Millbrook fumbled but recovered its own backfield miscue.
At 5:25 in the third quarter, Eldreds Tim Hallock sacked the Tigers QB.
Jonathan Counts picked up a first down, and Millbrook was assessed a 15-yard personal foul penalty.
Eldred was all set to roll with a first down at the 40-yard line. Reilly carried the ball, and Millbrook got whacked on a dead ball foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the home team a first down at the Tigers 23.
Under heavy defensive pressure, Reilly took it to a first down at the Millbrook 10-yard line.
Counts advanced half the distance to the goal line, setting up a first-and- goal at the Tigers 4-yard line.
At 1:44, McCormick took the ball across the line on a QB sneak. The PAT kick just cleared the right side upright as Eldred closed its deficit to 14-7.
On the subsequent onsides kickoff, Millbrooks Andrew Swartz jumped on it, but Eldred was called for a personal foul on what the officials deemed a late hit.
As the third quarter ticked away, Millbrook took it downfield until Kearins punched it across the goal line from 8 yards out with :08 showing on the third quarter clock.
Millbrooks subsequent 2-point conversion was unsuccessful.
On the second play of Eldreds next drive, Counts ran for a first down.
A couple of plays later, the Tigers sacked McCormick.
Later in the drive, the freshman signal caller attempted a midfield pass, but it was picked off by Rogers. After shaking off a legion of home team tacklers, Rogers took it in for a 55-yard touchdown at 9:03 in the fourth quarter. The PAT kick was unsuccessful, however, and Millbrook had a 26-7 lead.
As a severe thunderstorm started to roll across the valley, McCormick and Counts picked up yardage. On fourth down, the ball went up into the air for grabs, but Eldreds QB grabbed it for a lucky first down.
A few moments later, McCormick was sacked by three Tigers, one of whom showed good sportsmanship by helping the Yellowjackets QB regain his feet after the hard hits.
After an incomplete pass to Jasper, Millbrook took over on downs.
At 6:18, the officials halted the game for 30 minutes to let the fast moving storm subside.
After the game resumed, Counts ran it off tackle for at 54-yard TD at 4:02. A successful 2-point conversion pass from McCormick to Reilly closed out the scoring.
Millbrook went out in four plays, and Eldred took over on their own 30. McCormick attempted a long pass, but it was picked off to end the hard-fought game between the Class D teams.
The game went well for us, said Millbrook Coach Greg Scott. It was a physical football game . . . our guys came to play, and their guys came to play. We got the better of it.
According to Eldred Coach Frank Kean, his team came out sluggish in the first half, but outplayed the opposition in the final 24 minutes.
Their boys were big and strong, and controlled the line of scrimmage in the first half, he said. At halftime, we made some adjustments and played a lot better.